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Subject: Bavarian Infantry of Napoleonic Wars rss

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Jon M
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I am trying to design a Divisional sized 6 mm Napoleonic miniatures game and have a few questions about Bavarian infantry I hope someone more knowledgeable than me can answer.

How many Companies did a Bavarian infantry Battalion have during the period of the Napoleonic wars?

Differing sources either state or imply different numbers of companies.

eg Osprey book says four companies per infantry Battalion but then later in the book gives uniform details for sharpshooter, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th companies.

Also linked with that how did they generate skirmishers? Did they have dedicated light companies that formed the skirmish line or take the third rank a la the Austrians?

Or did this simply change during the wars. eg before the reform of the army they had four companies like the Prussians but then after reorganisation they became more like the French and changed to 6 companies with one a light company for Skirmish duty?
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Eddy Sterckx
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Bavaria switched to the French system of 6 companies per battalion in April 1811

Before that it was a bit tricky : a battalion actually had 5 companies : 4 fusilier + 1 grenadier - but on campaign one fusilier company was left behind in the depot town to recruit and train new replacements. And I guess other companies would dump their sick and/or otherwise unwanted personnel in that one company too. Also 20 men in each company were trained as skirmishers and often armed with rifles, so no separate skirmishing/sharpshooter company.

But the thing with Bavarians is that their companies were big - really big - containing a lot more men than the French companies so that a Bavarian battalion of 4 companies and a French of 6 were about equal in actual manpower.
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Jon M
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Thanks for the info.

I believe the Company was not really a combat element but an administrative one and effectively the equivalent of a section was the basic building block of a battalion. However I need to reduce the number of bases not increase them so it works quite handily for me to show a qualitative benefit to the French battalion by giving them six bases and the Bavarians only four. ie the French get more bang per man than the Bavarians.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Jon_1066 wrote:
...so it works quite handily for me to show a qualitative benefit to the French battalion by giving them six bases and the Bavarians only four. ie the French get more bang per man than the Bavarians.


There's only one problem with that approach : size matters. If the physical size of the unit's footprint is used as "quality", not raw manpower total, you run into some realism problems : the reduced footprint makes them less unwieldy than they would have been IRL and you also need a less realistic number of battalions of them to make a line at a particular location.

Most rules tend to get the relative physical footprint correct (*) and make the distinction through a "quality" factor - so you can have big average units fight smaller elite units. Or any combination you desire.

(*) the exception being artillery - afaik there isn't a ruleset that accurately portrays how much space was actually needed behind deployed guns for their horses and ammo carts.
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Alan Richbourg
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
[q="Jon_1066"] (*) the exception being artillery - afaik there isn't a ruleset that accurately portrays how much space was actually needed behind deployed guns for their horses and ammo carts.

Heh, I'm designing one that does.
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Jon M
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:
...so it works quite handily for me to show a qualitative benefit to the French battalion by giving them six bases and the Bavarians only four. ie the French get more bang per man than the Bavarians.


There's only one problem with that approach : size matters. If the physical size of the unit's footprint is used as "quality", not raw manpower total, you run into some realism problems : the reduced footprint makes them less unwieldy than they would have been IRL and you also need a less realistic number of battalions of them to make a line at a particular location.

Most rules tend to get the relative physical footprint correct (*) and make the distinction through a "quality" factor - so you can have big average units fight smaller elite units. Or any combination you desire.

(*) the exception being artillery - afaik there isn't a ruleset that accurately portrays how much space was actually needed behind deployed guns for their horses and ammo carts.


The bases are different sizes. So French bases are smaller than Bavarian or Russian ones. So a Four Base Bavarian line is the same length pretty much as a 6 base French one but the French will get to roll 6 dice to the Bavarian 4 when shooting. ie large companies make the Battalion less powerful when shooting. The added benefit is less pieces to move. Moving 12 Austrian Zugs per Battalion will get old pretty quickly.

Re the artillery. It is my understanding that units could traverse behind the guns since there was sufficient space between the guns and the carts. ie the carts where a couple of hundred yards back and would bring more ammo, etc as required during the battle.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Jon_1066 wrote:

Re the artillery. It is my understanding that units could traverse behind the guns since there was sufficient space between the guns and the carts. ie the carts where a couple of hundred yards back and would bring more ammo, etc as required during the battle.


While they technically could, I think it was against custom/doctrine to do so - and I can see why especially infantry commanders would be loath to get in between the guns and their ammo - that's a recipe for Murphy to strike.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Jon_1066 wrote:

The bases are different sizes. So French bases are smaller than Bavarian or Russian ones. So a Four Base Bavarian line is the same length pretty much as a 6 base French one


Different base sizes in the same game ? That's a bold move - I'm sure you've thought this through, but I know a lot of miniature wargamers who shy away from that - too much re-basing hassle.
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Jon M
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:

The bases are different sizes. So French bases are smaller than Bavarian or Russian ones. So a Four Base Bavarian line is the same length pretty much as a 6 base French one


Different base sizes in the same game ? That's a bold move - I'm sure you've thought this through, but I know a lot of miniature wargamers who shy away from that - too much re-basing hassle.


Yeah - It's not exactly something I am looking to publish as a commercial concern - more a case of "This is what I would like to see in a Napoleonic game ... it doesn't exist ... looks like I'll have to make it up"
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Eddy Sterckx
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Jon_1066 wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:

The bases are different sizes. So French bases are smaller than Bavarian or Russian ones. So a Four Base Bavarian line is the same length pretty much as a 6 base French one


Different base sizes in the same game ? That's a bold move - I'm sure you've thought this through, but I know a lot of miniature wargamers who shy away from that - too much re-basing hassle.


Yeah - It's not exactly something I am looking to publish as a commercial concern - more a case of "This is what I would like to see in a Napoleonic game ... it doesn't exist ... looks like I'll have to make it up"


Oh, I get that, if it's not intended as a commercial venture, but just "my dream Napoleonics system" than go for it I say.
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